Newcastle v West Ham: Late wobbles could hit Hammers again
It may pay to follow recent trends and back West Ham to start fast but dip late when they travel to Newcastle on Saturday, says Dave Tindall...
Newcastle position looking much safer
Thanks to a mini-revival and the incompetence of others, Newcastle's loosening grip on the Premier League looks to have tightened up again.
The Magpies are now six points ahead of third-bottom Fulham and have a game in hand on the Cottagers. Perhaps resurgent West Brom - eight back having played the same number of matches - are the biggest threat now with seven fixtures to complete.
Newcastle have given themselves breathing space after taking four points from the last two games.
First, there was a 2-2 home draw with Tottenham thanks to a late Joe Willock equaliser. Then, they fought back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Burnley. Goals from Jacob Murphy and Allan Saint-Maximin secured a first victory since early February.
Toon fans will no doubt have scoured the fixture list too. And although they have some tough games to come, a home match with Sheffield United and a trip to Fulham offer some insurance.
Relegation odds of 4.9 suggest Newcastle are not safe just yet but they've traded as low as 1.62 for the drop so the picture is looking much brighter.
West Ham still in dreamland
Let's get this clear. What West Ham are doing is astonishing.
With seven games to go, they're in the top four and just a single point behind third-placed Leicester. The Hammers could be in the Champions League next season. Who on earth could have predicted that?
A pair of 3-2 wins - away to Wolves and home to Leicester - have kept that points tally ticking over and their run-in is far from brutal.
After the trip to Newcastle, they host Chelsea in what could be a decisive match. But after that it's Burnley (a), Everton (h), Brighton (a), West Brom (a) and Southampton (h).
And yet... there's still a nagging feeling that David Moyes looking haunted on the sidelines will become familiar viewing.
Even though they've won their last two games, they were 3-0 up in both. Either West Ham are running out of gas physically or the enormity of what they're doing is having an adverse affect mentally.
Before those late dramas, they'd attained and then blown another 3-0 lead, this time in a 3-3 thriller against Arsenal.
It isn't good for the nerves. Can West Ham hang on and claim fourth or will fatigue, anxiety and the absence of injured key stars such as Declan Rice and Michail Antonio finally catch up with them?
Hammers clear favourites
West Ham are fancied to come out on top in this early Saturday kick-off, trading at just 2.16 to bag their eighth away victory of the Premier League campaign.
Newcastle are 3.85 to make it back-to-back wins in the top flight for just the second time this season. The Draw is 3.55.
History throws up a bit of a surprise if you're not a fan of either team and hence don't know the head-to-heads.
West Ham have won just two of their last 16 Premier League games at Newcastle, losing eight and drawing six.
But if you thought that stat was worth repeating in a socially-distanced beer garden, how about this one: David Moyes has played 22 games against bottom-half teams since returning to West Ham and hasn't lost any of them. Seriously, not a single one. He's won 14 and drawn eight.
There's contrasting evidence for the win market so I'm inclined to look elsewhere for the best bets.
Over 2.5 goals odds-on
With West Ham games the place to go for goals it's no surprise to see both Overs and BTTS trading the way they are.
Over 2.5 Goals is 1.92 while Both teams to Score is just 1.74.
Newcastle are no weak link if playing either of those as their last three games have had three goals or more while BTTS has landed in seven of the Magpies' last 10 outings.
Trends worth following
Now for my actual bets.
West Ham's capacity to start fast and wobble late seems pretty well ingrained so let's try and cash in on the Half Time/Full Time market.
There are two big-priced options worth looking at and I'll have a bet on both.
They are West Ham/Draw at 15.5 and West Ham/Newcastle at 46.
Ideally, West Ham have the minimum lead at the break but, then again, they do look capable of throwing away big advantages.
The 'here we go again' feeling can be a horrible one and, at some point, a Hammers capitulation could end in a defeat. It's big odds to do so and therefore worth a speculative punt.
Bet Builder offers goalscorer options
Two West Ham players are in the goals, Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen.
Lingard has eight in nine since bursting back to form following his loan from Manchester United. That includes three in his last two.
Bowen has three in three after strikes against Arsenal, Wolves and Leicester.
For Newcastle, Callum Wilson is fit again while the effervescent Allan Saint-Maximim has two in his last four. Both could cause mayhem if West Ham tire.
There are lots of permutations including putting all four in a Bet Builder and getting just shy of 50/1!
Lingard has scored the opener in each of his last four West Ham games so that's another option (7/2) as his anytime price of 5/4 is fairly short despite his great run.
Newcastle are looking to achieve their fifth Premier League double over West Ham (1993-94, 1994-95, 2010-11 and 2017-18), something they've only done as many times in the competition against Spurs.
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